Advice on safely disposing of an out-of-date flare

What to do with out-of-date or damaged flares


List of marine flare disposal sites

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


It is vital to dispose of out-of-date flares through the correct, safe methods. HM Coastguard no longer provides this service. Some alternative options are:

  • Check with your flare supplier – they will often be prepared to take them back.
  • A local liferaft service agent should be able to help, as they dispose of flares on a regular basis.
  • Check with your local port or marina as they may have disposal arrangements.

Never dump flares in household rubbish, garden waste or public litter bins. This is not a safe way to dispose of them, bringing risks to yourself and your family and to those who move and dispose of such litter. Also, remember it is an offence to dump flares at sea.

In addition, the MCA offers a last resort disposal service for the public at a limited number of locations. You can find the current list of sites in the document above. Please contact by phone first before visiting in person.

Published 22 December 2017
Last updated 22 December 2017 + show all updates
  1. Slight change to wording
  2. First published.